6 Tips for Managing Back-to-School Stress

6 Tips for Managing Back-to-School Stress

  1. Sleep. No matter whether you’re talking about a preschooler or a college student, getting enough sleep is critical when it comes to having a good day. During the summertime it’s easy to stay up late and sleep in, but once those alarm clocks start going off before 7am, people of all ages can get grouchy and have trouble focusing if they’ve been up too late.

    When starting a new bedtime regimen, it’s actually easier to start by changing your wake up time, rather than trying to force yourself to bed before you’re tired. We suggest gradually pushing your wake up time earlier by about 10 minutes per day, until you’re at your target time for school. This might mean starting about 2 weeks before classes begin. Once your body is adjusted to getting up earlier, it’ll be easier to fall asleep at a more reasonable (read: earlier) time at night.

  2. Plan ahead for managing assignments and workload. It’s easy to get behind on assignments and then feel overwhelmed by your “To Do” list. Take some time before school starts to think about how you’ll manage your assignments and study time. Some people do better with calendars, others prefer a daily list. Sometimes people like have a paper copy while others benefit from using their phone or an app to stay on top of tasks. It’s well worth a few hours of planning and practice now to see what works for you to avoid suffering at the end of the semester.

  3. Eat right. Again, planning can be helpful here. Taking some time on weekends to shop for healthy foods and think about what you’ll eat can help reduce stress during the week. Eating a low-sugar, balanced diet will help you keep an even keel, and not having to worry about overspending on meals out can be a big stress-reducer.

  4. Don’t get sucked into overcommitting. There will be many, many opportunities to join or add things to your schedule, whether you’re in college or elementary school. Try to prioritize and not get overwhelmed by joining everything that becomes available. Extracurriculars are a great way to make friends and build a healthy social life, but too much is not good either. Identify the groups or activities that are most important or appealing to you and stick with those. Also…

  5. Take time to de-stress. This might mean setting aside 10 minutes a day to meditate, or a half hour to exercise or take a hot bath. For younger kids, let them have some time with a favorite (fun!) book, or take them for a special outing. Teaching younger children how to find balance between scheduled and un-scheduled time is important.

  6.  For parents of younger kids: talk to your children. Find out what is making them nervous, talk about their new routines, and help them understand that it’s normal to be anxious about change. It’s important to empathize and validate their feelings, while helping them see the positives in a new year and the excitement of learning. If they continue to struggle and feel anxious after a few weeks, try to explore what’s going on and if you’re concerned, talk to your pediatrician.